The ST-Line is first. But others will follow – so assures Ford NZ in respect to its new sports utility, the Endura.
SEVERAL more editions of a new Canada-sourced Ford replacing the Territory will come to New Zealand in 2018.
Further to last week’s announcement that the five-seater Endura will be here in March in a single premium sports-oriented ST-Line format, Ford New Zealand has now made clear that other editions will be added some months later.
Spokesman Tom Clancy was unable to say how many more variants are earmarked for this market and also said potential launch timing is also to be determined, though the aim was to have the full lineup in place before the end of next year.
“We have not confirmed the lineup … but we are starting with the ($73,990) ST-Line then are going to have a full range later. There are more coming.”
However, when announcing the ST-Line, Ford NZ made a point of expressing that the derivative is seen as being a limited run car.
This might support conjecture that, ultimately, Ford New Zealand and Ford Australia are seeking a degree of model continuity.
Australia says it is also launching Endura in 2018, but interestingly the ST-Line does not figure in its own announcement, which Ford NZ sought to time in with.
Australia has nominated a base Trend, a Sport, a Titanium and something new, a Titanium Plus. Is the latter an ST-Line by another name?
The reason why the car is not reaching Australia until late 2018 is because cars sent across the Tasman have to meet requirements demanded by Australian Design Rules.
Ironically, ADR was designed as a protection for Australia’s car-making industry, which consigned to history with last month’s closure of its last homegrown operation, the Holden plant at Port Elizabeth, Adelaide. Ford closed its own assembly line, at Broadmeadows in Melbourne, more than a year ago but built enough examples of the Falcon-based Territory to keep it in NZ supply until early this year.
All of Ford Australia’s line up runs the same engine that is coming here in the ST-Line – a twin turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel developing 154kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
Clancy was unable to say if other engines are in the pipeline. He did not offer comment when asked if Ford was taking a risk backing diesel, when the SUV sector was starting to swing back to petrol engines.
The vehicle is a Ford global product, but the name we will know it by is definitely local – elsewhere around the world, this car is known as the Edge. However it could not be called that in Australasia because Toyota has dibs on that name. You’ll see it used in attachment to limited edition versions of the Hilux.
Indeed, only recently the Japanese giant’s Australia market head office renewed its trademark to ensure it could not be lost to Ford.
The Blue Oval has sought to put a positive spin of its Edge issue, arguing that by going with Endura it has maintained the ‘E’ theme that runs across most of its global SUV line-up. The move from Kuga to Escape at the beginning of this year was made in a similar vein.
But clearly this has been an unsettling exercise; enough for Ford to register Endura as an automotive trademark.
The ST-Line will present with distinctive alloys, a body styling kit, unique badging and upgraded sports suspension. Whether any of these transfer to, or share with, the other impending variants is not yet clear.
Clancy assure the first-in edition will makes quite an impact.
“It’s a great car. We’re very excited.”
Ford NZ managing director Simon Rutherford says the ST-Line is “a fantastic way for Ford to introduce the new nameplate to New Zealand.”
It will be the second ST-Line vehicle to arrive in New Zealand, joining the Mondeo ST-Line that was announced mid-year but has yet to hit the showoom.
Again, Ford has reiterated the Endura out of Canada only formats in a five-seat version. There is a seven-seater, but for now it is built purely in China and is solely for sale there.